|Animated Collage of NewsWeek(50)|
|Headline Collage of NewsWeek (50)|
Science News This Week:
1) Bacteria Communicate to Help Each Other Resist Antibiotics:
|Bacteria Communicate to Help Each Other Resist Antibiotics|
New research from Western University unravels a novel means of communication that allows bacteria such as Burkholderia cenocepacia (B. cenocepacia) to resist antibiotic treatment. B. cenocepacia is an environmental bacterium that causes devastating infections in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) or with compromised immune systems.
Dr. Miguel Valvano and first author Omar El-Halfawy, PhD candidate, show that the more antibiotic resistant cells within a bacterial population produce and share small molecules with less resistant cells, making them more resistant to antibiotic killing. These small molecules, which are derived from modified amino acids (the building blocks used to make proteins), protect not only the more sensitive cells of B. cenocepacia but also other bacteria including a highly prevalent CF pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli. The research is published in PLOS ONE.
"These findings reveal a new mechanism of antimicrobial resistance based on chemical communication among bacterial cells by small molecules that protect against the effect of antibiotics," says Dr. Valvano, adjunct professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, currently a Professor and Chair at Queen's University Belfast. "This paves the way to design novel drugs to block the effects of these chemicals, thus effectively reducing the burden of antimicrobial resistance."
"These small molecules can be utilized and produced by almost all bacteria with limited exceptions, so we can regard these small molecules as a universal language that can be understood by most bacteria," says El-Halfawy, who called the findings exciting. "The other way that Burkholderia communicates its high level of resistance is by releasing small proteins to mop up, and bind to lethal antibiotics, thus reducing their effectiveness." The next step is to find ways to inhibit this phenomenon.
The research, conducted at Western, was funded by a grant from Cystic Fibrosis Canada and also through a Marie Curie Career Integration grant.
2) Biomarker Predicts Heart Attack Risk Based On Response to Aspirin Therapy:
|Biomarker Predicts Heart Attack Risk Based On Response to Aspirin Therapy|
Aspirin has been widely used for more than 50 years as a common, inexpensive blood thinner for patients with heart disease and stroke, but doctors have little understanding of how it works and why some people benefit and others don't.
Now researchers at Duke Medicine have solved some of the mysteries related to the use of this century-old drug, and developed a blood-based test of gene activity that has been shown to accurately identify who will respond to the therapy.
The new gene expression profile not only measures the effectiveness of aspirin, but also serves as a strong predictor of patients who are at risk for heart attack, according to a study appearing July 3, 2013, in the online edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
"We recognized the concept of aspirin resistance among a population of patients who have cardiac events or stroke," said senior author Geoffrey S. Ginsburg, M.D., PhD, director of genomic medicine at Duke's Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy and executive director of the Center for Personalized Medicine. "We give the same dose to all patients, but maybe some patients need a larger dose of aspirin, or maybe they need to try a different therapy entirely. We need better tools to monitor patients and adjust their care accordingly, and the findings from our study move us in that direction."
The Duke researchers enlisted three groups of participants -- two of healthy volunteers and one comprising patients with heart disease seen in outpatient cardiology practices.The healthy volunteers were given a dosage of 325 mg of aspirin daily for up to a month; the heart disease patients had been prescribed a low dose of aspirin as part of their treatment. Blood was then analyzed for the impact of aspirin on RNA expression and the function of platelets, which are the blood cells involved in clotting.The RNA microarray profiling after aspirin administration revealed a set of 60 co-expressed genes that the researchers call the "aspirin response signature," which consistently correlated with an insufficient platelet response to aspirin therapy among the healthy subjects as well as the heart disease patients.The researchers also examined the aspirin response signature in another group of patients who had undergone cardiac catheterizations. They found the signature was also effective in identifying those patients who eventually suffered a heart attack or died.
"The aspirin response signature can determine who is at risk for heart attack and death," said Deepak Voora, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Duke and lead author of the study. "There is something about the biology of platelets that determines how well we respond to aspirin and we can now capture that with a genomic signature in blood."Ginsburg said the research is progressing to recreate the findings in other populations, and to develop a standardized testing system that could one day move the analysis into daily practice."Nearly 60 million people take aspirin regularly to reduce their chances of heart attack and death, but it doesn't work for everyone," said Rochelle Long, Ph.D., of the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which partly supported the study. "By monitoring gene activity patterns these investigators uncovered a 'signature' linked to inadequate responsiveness. This work may eventually lead to a simple blood test to identify those who do not benefit from aspirin, enabling them to seek other therapeutic options."In addition to Ginsburg and Voora, study authors include Derek Cyr; Joseph Lucas; Jen-Tsan Chi; Jennifer Dungan; Timothy A. McCaffrey; Richard Katz; L. Kristin Newby; William E. Kraus; Richard C. Becker; and Thomas L. Ortel.
3) Hawkmoths Use Ultrasound to Combat Bats:
|Hawkmoths Use Ultrasound to Combat Bats|
For years, pilots flying into combat have jammed enemy radar to get the drop on their opponents. It turns out that moths can do it, too.
A new study co-authored by a University of Florida researcher shows hawkmoths use sonic pulses from their genitals to respond to bats producing the high-frequency sounds, possibly as a self-defense mechanism to jam the echolocation ability of their predators.Echolocation research may be used to better understand or improve ultrasound as a vital tool in medicine, used for observing prenatal development, measuring blood flow and diagnosing tumors, among other things. The study appears online today in the journal Biology Letters.Study co-author Akito Kawahara, assistant curator of Lepidoptera at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus, said ultrasound has only been demonstrated in one other moth group.
"This is just the first step toward understanding a really interesting system," Kawahara said. "Echolocation research has been focused on porpoises, whales and dolphins. We know some insects produce the sounds, but this discovery in an unrelated animal making ultrasound, potentially to jam the echolocation of bats, is exciting."Hawkmoths are major pollinators and some are agricultural pests. Researchers use the insects as model organisms for genetic research due to their large size.
Previous research shows tiger moths use ultrasound as a defense mechanism. While they produce the sound using tymbals, a vibrating membrane located on the thorax, hawkmoths use a system located in the genitals. Scientists found at least three hawkmoth species produce ultrasonic sound, including females. Researchers believe hawkmoths may produce the sound as a physical defense, to warn others or to jam the bats' echolocation, which confuses the predators so they may not identify an object or interpret where it is located, Kawahara said.The study was conducted in Malaysia, which has the highest diversity of hawkmoths worldwide, and funded by a National Science Foundation grant of about $500,000. Kawahara also conducted research in the jungles of Borneo and the lower Amazon."So much work has been focused on animals that are active during the day, but there are a lot of really interesting things happening at night, and we just don't know a lot about what is actually going on -- because we can't hear or see it," Kawahara said. "The fascinating part is that there are a lot of new discoveries to be made. It's a totally unknown, unexplored system."
Kawahara's team from the Florida Museum's McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity used high-energy lamps to capture the hawkmoths in the jungle. Study co-author Jesse Barber's team from Boise State University played pre-recorded bat sounds to the insects, and all researchers studied their behavior. With the insects tethered inside an enclosed sound rig containing an ultrasonic microphone and speaker connected to two laptop computers, researchers recorded the sounds the hawkmoths made in response to being touched and hearing the echolocation sounds. The responsive species include Cechenena lineosa, Theretra boisduvalii and Theretra nessus."As a museum, we are creating a library of life," Kawahara said. "Museum specimens are usually preserved immediately, but we are trying to understand the behavior of these organisms so that we have a record of their behavior along with the specimen and DNA. This is why there are so many interesting things we're starting to discover."Hawkmoths are among the fastest and most proficient flying insects, and more than 1,400 species occur worldwide. Their long proboscis, or mouthpart, makes them important pollinators, since many plants may only be pollinated by hawkmoths.Study collaborators plan to continue researching the use of ultrasound in hawkmoths, focusing on the evolution of the insects to see if other hawkmoth species use this system, Kawahara said."We think hawkmoths are a primary food source for bats because none appear to be chemically defended, which is why they have evolved anti-bat ultrasound strategies," Kawahara said. "Hawkmoths have evolved different ways of avoiding bats -- I can't even explain how amazing the system is, it is just fascinating."
4) Agriculture's roots spread east to Iran :
|Agriculture's roots spread east to Iran|
Agriculture originated across a broader swath of southwestern Asia’s Fertile Crescent, and over a longer time period, than many scientists have thought, excavations in western Iran suggest.
Between 11,700 and 9,900 years ago, residents of Chogha Golan, a settlement in the foothills of Iran’s Zagros Mountains, went from cultivating wild ancestors of modern crops to growing a form of domesticated wheat called emmer, say archaeobotanist Simone Riehl of the University of Tübingen, Germany, and her colleagues. Until now, most evidence of farming’s origins came from sites 700 to 1,500 kilometers west of Chogha Golan, the scientists report in the July 5 Science.
Unlike early farming villages that archaeologists previously unearthed in what are now Turkey, Israel, Syria and Iraq, Chogha Golan preserves a sequence of human occupations that provide a look at how agriculture developed over many centuries.“The whole process, from cultivating wild precursor species to cultivating domesticated plants, took 1,000 to 2,000 years at Chogha Golan,” Riehl says.
Wild cereal cultivation began around the same time at sites extending east from Israel, Turkey, Syria and the Mediterranean island of Cyprus to Iraq and Iran, writes archaeobotanist George Willcox of Lumière University Lyon 2, France, in the same issue of Science.But domestication of emmer occurred several thousand years later at Chogha Golan than at sites to its west, Willcox says.Discoveries by Riehl’s team align with other recent evidence that various crops were gradually domesticated at sites across the Fertile Crescent, with the process proceeding more slowly in some areas than in others, Dorian Fuller of University College London says. Researchers traditionally thought that a rapid shift to farming occurred in the western Fertile Crescent.In 2009 and 2010, Riehl’s team — which includes Iranian archaeologists — unearthed remains of 11 human occupations at Chogha Golan. The site’s first residents arrived around 12,000 years ago, the scientists say. Within a few hundred years, village inhabitants began cultivating wild plants including barley, wheat and lentil.
A spike in the proportion of distinctively shaped domesticated emmer wheat remnants appeared almost two millennia after wild wheat cultivation had started.Increasing numbers of clay figurines, bone implements, stone grinding tools and stone vessels turned up at the Iranian site after 11,000 years ago, signaling an expanding population.Agricultural knowledge may have spread from one or a few western farming centers eastward as far as Iran, either due to migration of crop-growing groups or to long-distance trading, Willcox says.Riehl suspects, however, that people in at least a few areas — probably including western Iran — launched agriculture on their own. “There was no single core area where everything started, but rather regions where domestication of plant species began more or less independently.”
5) White Dwarf Star Throws Light On Possible Variability of a Constant of Nature:
|White Dwarf Star Throws Light On Possible Variability of a Constant of Nature|
An international team led by the University of New South Wales has studied a distant star where gravity is more than 30,000 times greater than on Earth to test its controversial theory that one of the constants of Nature is not a constant.
Dr Julian Berengut and his colleagues used the Hubble Space Telescope to measure the strength of the electromagnetic force -- known as alpha -- on a white dwarf star.Their results, which do not contradict the variable constant theory, are to be published in the journal Physical Review Letters. Dr Berengut, of the UNSW School of Physics, said the team's previous research on light from distant quasars suggests that alpha -- known as the fine-structure constant -- may vary across the universe.
"This idea that the laws of physics are different in different places in the cosmos is a huge claim, and needs to be backed up with solid evidence," he says."A white dwarf star was chosen for our study because it has been predicted that exotic, scalar energy fields could significant alter alpha in places where gravity is very strong."
"Scalar fields are forms of energy that often appear in theories of physics that seek to combine the Standard Model of particle physics with Einstein's general theory of relativity.""By measuring the value of alpha near the white dwarf and comparing it with its value here and now in the laboratory we can indirectly probe whether these alpha-changing scalar fields actually exist."White dwarfs are very dense stars near the ends of their lives. The researchers studied the light absorbed by nickel and iron ions in the atmosphere of a white dwarf called G191-B2B. The ions are kept above the surface by the star's strong radiation, despite the pull of its extremely strong gravitational field.
"This absorption spectrum allows us to determine the value of alpha with high accuracy. We found that any difference between the value of alpha in the strong gravitational field of the white dwarf and its value on Earth must be smaller than one part in ten thousand," Dr Berengut says."This means any scalar fields present in the star's atmosphere must only weakly affect the electromagnetic force." Dr Berengut said that more precise measurements of the iron and nickel ions on earth are needed to complement the high-precision astronomical data."Then we should be able to measure any change in alpha down to one part per million. That would help determine whether alpha is a true constant of Nature, or not."
Movie Release This Week:
1) Despicable Me 2:
|Despicable Me 2|
Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s worldwide blockbuster Despicable Me entertained audiences around the globe in 2010, grossing more than $540 million and becoming the 10th-biggest animated motion picture in U.S. history. In summer 2013, get ready for more Minion madness in Despicable Me 2.
Chris Meledandri and his acclaimed filmmaking team create an all-new comedy adventure featuring the return of (former?) super-villain Gru (Steve Carell), his adorable girls, the unpredictably hilarious Minions...and a host of new and outrageously funny characters.
2) The Lone Ranger:
|The Lone Ranger|
Native American spirit warrior Tonto (Johnny Depp) and man of the law John Reid (Armie Hammer) are opposites brought together by fate and must join forces to battle greed and corruption.
3) Hammer of the Gods:
|Hammer of the Gods|
Set in the violent world of Viking Britain in 871 AD, Hammer of the Gods is the story of a young Viking warrior, Steinar (Charlie Bewley), sent by his father the King (James Cosmo) on a quest to find his estranged brother, who was banished from the kingdom many years before. Steinar’s epic journey across hostile territory gradually sees him emerge as the man his father wants him to be – the ruthless and unforgiving successor to his throne.
4) Just Like a Woman:
|Just Like a Woman|
A Chicago housewife runs off to Santa Fe to compete in a belly dancing competition.
5) The Way, Way Back:
|The Way, Way Back|
The funny and poignant coming of age story of 14-year-old Duncan’s (Liam James) summer vacation with his mother, Pam (Toni Collette), her overbearing boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell), and his daughter, Steph (Zoe Levin).
Having a rough time fitting in, the introverted Duncan finds an unexpected friend in gregarious Owen (Sam Rockwell), manager of the Water Wizz water park. Through his funny, clandestine friendship with Owen, Duncan slowly opens up to and begins to finally find his place in the world - all during a summer he will never forget.
Political News this Week :
1) President signs food security ordinance:
|President signs food security ordinance|
President Pranab Mukherjee Friday promulgated the national food security ordinance, which aims to provide subsidised food grain to around 67 percent of India's 1.2 billion people.The measure is expected to be a game-changer for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, coming ahead of the polls to five state assemblies this year-end, and the general elections of 2014.
The food security bill, one of the big-ticket welfare initiatives of the UPA and a pet project of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, is expected to provide subsidised food grains to around 800 million people.This would entail an initial cost of around Rs.1.3 lakh crore to the government.
The government, which is in minority and is surviving on outside support, skipped a debate in parliament by issuing the ordinance, and invited the ire of the opposition parties who slammed the government for demeaning parliament.While the step has sparked off speculation over early polls, some reports have also said the announcement was made as upcoming assembly polls may be announced soon and the model code of conduct would have created a hurdle, as it prohibits the government from announcing any big policy initiative that could impact voting.
2) Rs 2500 crore seized from four trucks in Mumbai:
|Rs 2500 crore seized from four trucks in Mumbai|
The Income Tax Department and National Investigation Agency personnel on Monday night seized cash worth Rs 2,500 crore, and gold and diamond jewellery from four trucks here and detained 47 people.It is being billed as the biggest operation of its kind.
The trucks were apprehended from outside Mumbai Central railway station, stumping the investigators who suspect a terror angle, a top IT official, requesting anonymity said on Tuesday.According to sources, each truck with around 15 people on board, was carrying around 35 bags, allegedly stuffed with cash and valuables.At least 47 people, including personal couriers, locally known as ‘angadiyas’, were detained and 20 were let off after initial questioning by the two agencies early Tuesday morning.According to reports, the cash was to be transported to Ahmedabad on Gujarat Mail.
I-T officials said that so far, 50 bags containing cash have been scrutinised and they are looking into the contents of the remaining.Prima facie the cash appears to be part of hawala transaction, to be carried to Gujarat from Mumbai, they said.In an interesting twist in the case, it has been revealed that an Inspector stationed at South Mumbai’s VP Road and his colleagues had escorted the trucks to station.
The joint operation by more than 100 officers was carried out at around 9 pm, when the four trucks reached outside the Mumbai Central station to unload the suitcases.Those detained with around 150 suitcases of cash are still being grilled.The operation was carried out following a tip-off received by the NIA at least a week ago.It roped in the I-T Department for help as a huge amount of cash was involved.Not ruling out a terror funding angle, at least a dozen of those detained are being questioned separately by the NIA.
The IT officials are still counting the cash at their head office in Scindia House in Ballard Estate in south Mumbai, which houses many other central government offices.The true value of the consignment is expected to be known only within another day or so, an official said.
3) Egypt crisis: Army ousts President Mohammed Morsi:
|Army ousts President Mohammed Morsi|
Egypt's army has removed President Mohammed Morsi from power, suspended the constitution and pledged new elections following mass protests.
The army chief announced the move in a TV address. The head of the constitutional court is expected to be sworn in as interim leader on Thursday.
Mr Morsi's supporters denounced the move as a military coup and said he was being held in detention.
His opponents celebrated through the night in Cairo's Tahrir Square.But officials from Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood said its main rally in Cairo had come under attack by armed assailants and there were reports of deadly clashes elsewhere.US President Barack Obama said he was "deeply concerned" by the latest turn of events and called for a swift return to civilian rule.'Military coup'The military moved quickly after the TV address by army chief Gen Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who said Mr Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, had "failed to meet the demands of the Egyptian people".
Military vehicles were seen fanning out across the capital.Muslim Brotherhood media spokesman Gehad el-Haddad told the BBC that Mr Morsi had been put under house arrest and the "entire presidential team" was in detention.Mr Haddad's father, senior Morsi aide Essam el-Haddad, and Saad al-Katatni, head of the Brotherhood's political wing, were among those held.
|State-run al-Ahram newspaper reported that arrest warrants had been issued for 300 leaders and members of the Muslim Brotherhood|
State-run al-Ahram newspaper reported that arrest warrants had been issued for 300 leaders and members of the Muslim Brotherhood.TV stations belonging to the Brotherhood went off air at the end of Gen Sisi's speech and state news agency Mena said managers at the movement's Misr25 channel had been arrested.Mr Haddad said a crowd of some 2,000 Morsi supporters had been shot at by men in civilian dress with machine guns at the main Brotherhood rally.A notice on Mr Morsi's Facebook page denounced the army for its "military coup".The statement asked Egyptian citizens - both civilians and military - to "abide by the constitution and the law and not to respond to this coup".But a number of clashes were reported in several Egyptian cities. At least 10 people were said to have been killed in the coastal cities of Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh, as well as in the southern city of Minya.
In Tahrir Square, thousands of anti-Morsi protesters celebrated with fireworks and honking car horns.One protester, Omar Sherif, told Agence France-Presse: "It's a new historical moment. We got rid of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood."The BBC's Kevin Connolly in Cairo says no-one knows what will happen next. The danger, he says, is that both sides will try to settle differences by bringing supporters on to the streets.The army has said it will not allow that to happen but, our correspondent says, it will not be easy to stop.
Mr Morsi became Egypt's first Islamist president on 30 June 2012, after winning an election considered free and fair following the 2011 revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak.The fact is the Obama administration won't be tremendously disappointed by what has happened”However his term in office was marred by constant political unrest and a sinking economy.
The mass protests at the weekend that led to the army's intervention were called by the Tamarod (Rebel) movement, in response to worsening social and economic conditions.But there has been a growing sense of discontent since last November, when Mr Morsi issued a controversial constitutional declaration granting himself extensive powers.His moves to entrench Islamic laws and concentrate power in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood also alienated liberals and secularists
4) Advani meets RSS leaders in Nagpur:
|Advani meets RSS leaders in Nagpur|
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veteran Lal Krishna Advani met Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat at the RSS headquarters here today.
Senior RSS leaders, including general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi, were also present in the meeting.Advani, who had resigned from all party posts after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was appointed the chief of party's poll panel for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, was forced to do a U-turn after Bhagwat stepped in and withdrew his resignation on June 11. BJP President Rajnath Singh is also expected to meet Bhagwat tomorrow.
5) Madhya Pradesh finance minister quits:
|Madhya Pradesh finance minister quits|
Madhya Pradesh Finance Minister Raghavji quit Friday following allegations of having unnatural sex with his servant who filed a complaint with the police.
Raj Kumar, a servant of Raghavji, submitted his complaint at the Habibganj police station Friday. He claimed that for a long time Raghavji was having unnatural sex with him. He has also levelled similar charges against an official.
He claimed that a sex CD has also been made. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan directed Raghavji to submit his resignation.Raghavji confirmed to reporters that he has been told resign. Chouhan accepted his resignation and forwarded it to Governor Ram Naresh Yadav.Water Resource Minister Jayant Malaviya has been handed over the charge of the state finance ministry.The Congress described it as an unfortunate incident. It criticised the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and said this incident has exposed the BJP's real face.
6) Uttarakhand floods: In Kedarnath, crores vanish from bank chest:
Man's baser instincts were at work even at the time of a calamitous tragedy. A week after the cloud-burst close to the Kedarnath temple, the police in Uttarakhand recovered Rs 83 lakh from a man trying to take a rescue chopper and arrested him. Initial inquiries revealed the money was part of Rs 5 crore in a State Bank of India chest at the Kedarnath branch, and were proceedings from the temple which was washed away along with most of the structures in the pilgrim town.
So far, the Uttarakhand police have recovered only Rs 83 lakh and no one has a clue about the rest of the money. Uttarakhand DGP Satyavrat Bansal told TOI that efforts are being made to recover the rest of the money and confirmed that one man was arrested after he was found with Rs 83 lakh that he could not explain. News of missing cash spread like wildfire with unconfirmed reports said a number of people from Kedarnath town had found the chest full of cash but did not inform anyone.Speaking on phone from Ukhimath, an official of Kedarnath temple committee, Raj Kumar, said, "The bank adjoining pujari niwas (priests' quarters) crumbled and swept away along with other structures. I, and over 300 pilgrims, hid inside the temple."
Raj Kumar said wads of currency notes in the bank's almirahs and safe were strewn far from the shrine. When some local people saw the money sloshing around, they took no time to fill their bags and fled with it. On June 19, some people saw a suspicious-looking unidentified man waiting to be airlifted. He was handed over to police. "The cash was seized from this man and the bank was informed about the series of the notes for confirmation," said Birenderjeet Singh, SP, Rudraprayag.
Singh said the rescue teams were informed about the missing cash from Kedarnath. "We can't say anything about where the cash is, but our effort is to recover it," he said.The Kedarnath shrine had a daily collection of nearly Rs 1 lakh, which was deposited with the SBI. The bank's cash storage capacity is Rs 2.5 crore. Asked why was such huge amount of cash being stashed in the bank, Kumar said, "The cash wasn't deposited to the main branch at Ukhimat and now there is little possibility of recovery."Recalling the apocalyptic moment, Kumar said, "I ran inside the main temple and along with 300 others, mostly pilgrims, spent the night there. The dreadful roar of water and sludge gushing over the main temple left us scared. We stepped out when we heard Army choppers on Monday morning," said Kumar.
Sport News This Week:
1) Confederations Cup: Brazil Dominate Spain In Final At The Maracana :
|Confederations Cup: Brazil Dominate Spain In Final At The Maracana|
Brazil captured its third straight Confederations Cup title in emphatic fashion, brushing aside Spain 3-0 in the final on Sunday.The tournament hosts were in supreme form inside a raucous Maracana, ripping the reigning world and European champions to shreds to end their 29-match unbeaten run, and claim the trophy for the fourth time, alongside their triumphs of 2009, 2005 and 1997.Fred needed only 90 seconds to open the scoring, before a thumping second from Neymar moments before the break rounded off an excellent Brazil first half.
The onslaught continued two minutes after the restart when Fred put another past a shellshocked Spain, which showed its ineptitude at both ends when Sergio Ramos lashed a penalty off target.Gerard Pique's 68th-minute red card ended any fleeting hopes of a comeback from la Roja, as Brazil's win sparked wild celebrations in the stands, which will doubtless be outdone should the Selecao emerge victorious when the World Cup comes to these shores next summer.Juan Mata, who scored in the penalty shootout during Spain’s semi-final win over Italy, replaced David Silva, making him the only change for either side from the previous round.The fans had the Maracana rocking long before kickoff, and barely two minutes in, the home side nearly blew the roof off the famous stadium when it took the lead.
Oscar delivered a ball into the box, which Fred, Iker Casillas, Alvaro Arbeloa and Pique all challenged. And after a scramble, despite laying on the turf, the Fluminese man reacted quickest to poke home.Fred very nearly set Oscar up for the second within minutes when he flicked across the box from Neymar’s cross, but Chelsea’s young playmaker drilled agonizingly wide.Paulinho then made Casillas work hard to keep the deficit at one with a cheeky lob after robbing Andres Iniesta, with the Spain keeper backpedalling to get a hand to the attempt.Vicente Del Bosque’s side was simply struggling to cope with the tenacity and energy in Brazil’s play, which was matched every step of the way by the fervour raining down from the stands.
And Arbeloa nearly committed a fatal mistake when he flattened Neymar on the halfway line, but with the fans baying for blood, only a yellow card was issued to the defender.Spain finally showed signs of life when Iniesta’s rasping drive forced Julio Cesar to push around the post, but it was an aberration amid Brazil’s dominance, and Casillas had to stand tall again to stop Fred from point-blank range.However, it was then Brazil’s turn to live on the edge when an outrageous goal-line clearance from David Luiz denied Pedro a sure-fire goal after Mata’s pass put him one-on-one with Cesar.But with halftime approaching, Brazil would get its deserved second. Oscar drew the attention of the defense at the top of the box and deftly slipped in Neymar, who unleashed an unstoppable shot into the back of the net.And two minutes after the interval, the hosts struck again. Hulk’s fantastic diagonal ball was cleverly dummied by Neymar, leaving Fred to finish coolly into the bottom corner.Spain was handed a glimmer of hope with a penalty after Marcelo clumsily challenged substitute Jesus Navas, but Ramos extinguished that optimism almost instantly with a wild spot kick that flew wide.And the Europeans were finished for good when Pique stuck out a leg in vain to bring down a streaking Neymar, earning the Barcelona defender a straight red card as the last man.It was party time inside the Maracana, with the irrepressible Neymar driving past defenders with ease, and substitute Jo coming close to a fourth with a powerful strike that was saved by Casillas.Spain had a few chances to restore a little pride, but Pedro was denied excellently from close range by Cesar, who did equally well to push away a curling Villa effort with only minutes remaining. But it just was not la Roja's night, with the final whistle signalling what had been an inevitability for some time as the Brazil celebrations kicked off in earnest.Now the only question that remains for the Selecao is whether they can ride this momentum all the way onto the biggest stage of them all.
2) Wimbledon: Lisicki shows anything possible to set up Bartoli final:
|Lisicki shows anything possible to set up Bartoli final|
No one would have guessed that Sabine Lisicki is allergic to grass as she joyfully rolled on the most famous rectangle of turf after surviving a heart-pumping, nerve-jangling epic to set up a mind-boggling Wimbledon final against Marion Bartoli.
A final that had odds of 1,500-1 at the start of the tournament became a reality on a hot and sticky Thursday afternoon as Lisicki, relying on a thunderbolt serve and sheer force of will, ended the brave resistance of Agnieszka Radwanska with a 6-4 2-6 9-7 win.
Bartoli's tactics were more unconventional as the French 15th seed enjoyed a 20-minute power nap shortly before her semi-final and woke up to inflict a 6-1 6-2 nightmare on Belgian outsider Kirsten Flipkens.
Fans who might have been feeling short-changed following Bartoli's 63-minute demolition job having forked out $150 for a ticket, certainly got their money's worth of drama and dazzling court craft as Lisicki showed the fight that helped her to jettison Serena Williams in the fourth round.
The German 23rd seed showed why she had an 18-4 win-loss record at the All England Club - but 16-15 at the other slams - as she clawed back from 3-0 down to win the longest third set in a women's semi-final here since Conchita Martinez squeezed past Lori McNeil 10-8 in 1994.
After outlasting last year's runner-up and fourth seed Radwanska in a two hour 18 minute sweat-fest, Lisicki could not stop beaming.
"It was unbelievable, the last few games were so exciting. Agnieszka played so well, it was a battle and I'm so happy to have won it," said Lisicki, whose smile has lit up a Wimbledon full of shocks and surprises.
"I was just fighting for every single point out there. I didn't know how it would end, I fought with all my heart but I believed I could win no matter what the score was."
Lisicki's calm and poised demeanour was in stark contrast to the strange on-court mannerisms of 2007 runner-up Bartoli.Throughout the contest, the 28-year-old could not stand, or even sit, still for 10 seconds.In between points she was a bundle of energy, practising air shots as she bounced around like a hyperactive toddler and she repeatedly kissed the bands on her right and left wrists.
The body language might have been unorthodox and some of her shots were equally eccentric but that did not stop her from seeing "the ball like a football" and she stands one match away from emulating countrywoman Amelie Mauresmo's 2006 success.
Flipkens, who suffered life-threatening blood clots 14 months ago and defied doctors orders to get her career back on track, admitted she had been powerless.
"I had to play 500 percent to beat Marion today," said the bespectacled Belgian.
"I tried my slices. She didn't have any problem with that. I tried the dropshot. She got it. I played a passing shot, she came to the net. I tried a lob. I tried everything. She was just too good," added Flipkens, who had to take an injury time out while trailing 3-0 in the second set to get her already-strapped right knee retaped.
Radwanska, the only top-four player to fulfil her seeding, emerged on to Centre Court with so much strapping above both knees it appeared as if her thighs had been mummified.
3) Wimbledon preview: Djokovic and Murray face giant challenges:
Wimbledon 2013 will be remembered as a tournament of shocks but unless giants Juan Martin del Potro and Jerzy Janowicz can chop Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray down to size, Sunday's men's final will be a showdown between the world's top two players.
In a sport that plays on the psychologically vulnerable and demands supreme levels of physical endurance, the consistency of Djokovic and Murray in reaching the business end of grand slams is nothing short of remarkable.
When Djokovic takes to Centre Court to play Argentine Del Potro, it will be his 13th successive semi-final at a major, while Murray's match-up against Janowicz will be his fifth consecutive appearance in the last four at Wimbledon.Should they both win, it will be the third time in the last four grand slams that they have met in the final.Their rivalry has usurped that of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal as the biggest draw in the sport and with the Swiss maestro and the Spanish matador having been dumped out early, two different faces will contest Friday's semis.Del Potro, a grand slam winner at the U.S. Open in 2009, is hardly an unknown, but Janowicz has emerged from obscurity and will enter the world's top 20 next week.Both players are imposing figures on court. Poland's Janowicz stands at 6-foot-8 and Del Potro is a mere two inches shorter.
Both have booming serves and heavy duty forehands and both are distant outsiders to cause an upset - bookies have Djokovic a 1-6 favourite to beat Del Potro and Murray is 1-5 to end Janowicz's surprise run.Del Potro will do well just to make it on court. After a nasty tumble in his third-round match, when he collided with a chair, he has played with heavy strapping around his knee.His quarter-final against David Ferrer looked like it was going to be over after just five points when the Argentine eighth seed slipped, over-extended the wounded knee and needed a medical timeout.
4) Fatigue did not lead to India's back-to-back defeats: Gambhir:
|Fatigue did not lead to India's back-to-back defeats: Gambhir|
Out-of-favour opener Gautam Gambhir refused to believe that fatigue due to excessive cricket was the reason behind India's back-to-back defeats in the ongoing tri-series in the West Indies.
"Not at all...if you talk about fatigue, then it should not only affect the Indian team but also the other teams. They should also get affected by it. Sri Lanka is playing the same amount of cricket as India. If other team has played well, we must acknowledge it. There efforts should be recognised," said Gambhir.
India's tri-series campaign was thrown into disarray after a crushing 161-run defeat against Sri Lanka in Kingston last night. The Indians first allowed Sri Lanka to post a mammoth 348 for one and then were shot out for 187 in 44.5 overs to suffer their second successive defeat.
The Indians got barely a few days to rejoice after their Champions Trophy win in England before boarding the flight to the Caribbeans.
However, Gambhir warned against reading too much into the losses and said it's part and parcel of the game."It happens in every sport, there are bad and good phases and these things happen. It's part and parcel of cricket," said Gambhir on the sidelines of a function on Wednesday.The Delhi dasher also refused to comment on Virat Kohli's captaincy, who is leading the national side in the absence of regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has been ruled out of the series due to a hamstring injury."No comments...Thank you," was Gambhir's curt reply. Gambhir, whose form has been patchy of late, is presently out of the Indian team after he was ignored for the Champions Trophy. The good showing of the opening duo of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma in the Champions Trophy has made it difficult for him to return to the Indian team.
Gambhir had hired the services of WV Raman, the former India opening batsman, as a personal consultant for a week to fine-tune his batting skills in his bid to make a comeback."A cricketer always works on his game whenever he gets the time and I was also doing the same thing. It's not like I was working on my batting technique," he said.
Gambhir also welcomed BCCI's Tour Programme and Fixtures Committee's decision to implement the suggestions made by the Technical Committee to revamp the Ranji Trophy format.The 2013-14 season Ranji Trophy matches will be played only during weekends while the gap between the fixtures will be four days after the third game and every team will play four 'home' and four 'away' games in the Ranji league phase.
5) Cuba make big moves in FIFA rankings:
|Cuba make big moves in FIFA rankings|
Caribbean football champions Cuba have made significant gains to remain inside the top 100 of the FIFA World Rankings, according to the July edition.
Cuba leaped nine places to 82nd in the world and eighth in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), reports CMC.
The Dominican Republic also moved up four places to 90th in the world.But Haiti remains the top Caribbean Football Union (CFU) nation in the rankings despite falling six places on the world ranking to 69th.The Haitians are also ranked sixth in CONCACAF with a total of 522 points.
Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are also within the top 100 of the ranking. Jamaica (77th, down 28) and T and T (87th, down 6) are seventh and ninth respectively in CONCACAF.The top 10 of the CFU list is completed by Suriname (109th, up 4), Antigua & Barbuda (122nd, down 1), Grenada (123rd, up 1), Guyana (128th, down 2) and Puerto Rico (131st, down 3).
Book Release This Week :
|Stoker's Manuscript : by Royce Prouty|
Stoker's Manuscript : by Royce Prouty
From debut author Royce Prouty comes a spellbinding tale of history, folklore, destiny, and redemption.
Joseph Barkeley has a gift. Without the aid of chemical testing, he can accurately determine the authenticity and age of any document, seeing details within the fibers the way a composer picks out the individual notes of a symphony. But rarely does Joseph get a job this delicate and well-paying. A mystery buyer has hired him to authenticate the original draft of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
When he travels to Transylvania to personally deliver the manuscript to the legendary Bran Castle, Barkeley, a Romanian orphan himself, soon realizes that his employer is the son of the infamous Vlad Dracula. Imprisoned in the castle and forced to serve “the Master,” Barkeley must quickly decipher cryptic messages hidden within Stoker’s masterpiece to find the Master’s long-lost bride—or risk wearing out his welcome.
But as he delves into the history of Dracula and his own lineage, Barkeley discovers that his selection for this job was based on more than his talent with rare books. Now, he has a perilous decision to make—save his life with a coward’s flight, or wage a deadly battle with an ancient foe.
is a CPA and business consultant. He and his wife live in Southern California. Stoker's Manuscript is his first novel, and he is currently working on its sequel.